June 18, 2015

Tire Alignments should not Be Ignored

The tires on your vehicle are important. They help the vehicle to travel efficiently and with ease. If you notice that the vehicle travels crooked down the road, it could be an issue with the tires. The vehicle might have had a problem with the frame from a car accident. Sometimes the problems with going straight down the road are not so obvious, such as in the case of your tires. The tires need to be regularly aligned so that you know when you go down the road, you are going in a way that all tires are evenly touching the surface of the road. Not having your tires properly aligned can cause all sorts of issues from low gas mileage to uneven wear on the tires that could result in getting a flat or needing a new tire. Poor Alignment can cause issues with the Tires Tires that remain unaligned for a significant amount of time will wear unevenly. Even if you get the tires rotated, it could be enough to set the tire apart from the others so that it is not usable within the set of four you have. Since you are having the tires checked and rotated, it just makes sense to have them place the car on the machine and check the balance and alignment of them. It usually takes less than an hour to complete. This way you can help ensure the vehicle is in the best condition possible for when you will need to drive it. If you ever notice anything out of the norm, it is always important to contact us as soon as possible so we can fix it. What is an Alignment A tire alignment is a process that auto mechanics do on a machine to keep your tires in balance. When you get a new set of tires or have your current ones rotated, it is not as simple as simply stuffing them back over the rims and sending you away down the road. The tires need to be carefully checked so that they all face the same angle and will wear in the same manner as the car goes down the road. Even being off a degree or two from the rest of the tires could cause uneven wear. Our ASE master technician will drive your car up on a device with a measuring plate under each tire. How Alignments are Beneficial When you get your tires aligned it means that all of the tires are in the correct balance. When they are not in the correct balance, then the problems can creep up. One tire might wear faster than another one, making you have to buy tires sooner rather than later because one is worn out. Any improper tire alignment can also mess with the gas mileage your car gets. If the tires are fighting each other to go down the road, it is extra work the engine is doing that you are not even aware of. By having the tires with the right tire pressure and being balanced, they will get optimum fuel efficiency and gas mileage.  
June 11, 2015

Signs the Muffler is Going Out

As we watch the odometers on our vehicles rise we can expect to replace parts due to general wear and tear, particularly tires and brakes. Mufflers are no exception. Although the life of a car can vary depending on care and environmental conditions, they are designed to last about ten years or 150,000 miles. The average life of a muffler is about 100,000 miles. This average is significantly decreased in geographic locations where roads are sprayed with a treatment to improve winter driving conditions as the salt used in the treatment increases the chance of corrosion. There is no doubt that a muffler will need to be replaced at some point of the life of the vehicle. A vehicle with a bad muffler can use twice the gas it should. Also, it can emit toxic levels of exhaust into the passenger area endangering your family. Deterioration of the exhaust system may occur over time, so you may not be aware of the subtle changes on a day-to-day basis. Consider asking someone who does not ride in the car every day to help you conduct an inspection to determine if you should bring your vehicle to an authorized mechanic. Odd Noises from Your Vehicle Mufflers are part of the vehicle’s exhaust system, which is designed to optimize airflow. Flowing air that is disrupted will make noise and, if not corrected, the noise is likely to increase over time. Also pay close attention to where the noise coming from. Muffler noise will typically come from the middle to the rear of the vehicle. If the noise is coming from the front of the vehicle, the noise may be coming from something other than the muffler. Presence of Black Soot from the Vehicle If your vehicle has a bad muffler, it will have black or blue exhaust smoke coming from the tailpipe when the engine is started. Turn off the engine, chock the wheels, and use jack to lift your car so you can safely inspect underneath the vehicle. Again, looking in the exhaust system in the middle to rear of the car, inspect for black soot marks on the muffler. Black soot is indicative of a bad muffler that should be replaced. If you cannot safely inspect underneath the car, a mechanic should be able to show you when your car is on a lift. Any Unusual Odors You Notice Ask a friend or neighbor to weigh in their opinion as well as exhaust may inappropriately flow into the passenger areas, thus cars in need of new mufflers may smell slightly of smoke or gas. If you can’t smell anything but suspect there is an exhaust issue, note if passengers display allergy-type symptoms such as watery eyes and coughing. Excessive sleepiness may occur as well. Infants and elderly are especially susceptible to the toxins in the exhaust. Your car’s exhaust system should be professionally inspected immediately. Bring the vehicle in, and we can inspect the muffler and other components for you.  
June 9, 2015

Safety Inspections that Should be Done for Your Vehicle

The winter season can be very hard on your vehicle. Now is the perfect time to have an automotive technician inspect all aspects of your vehicle that you might have neglected during those cold, icy winter months. Doing general vehicle maintenance is important after such brutal weather because the cold can cause different components of your vehicle to breakdown. This can cause you major headaches if these problems are not caught. Regular vehicle maintenance should continue during the summer to ensure top performance of your vehicle. Why Safety Inspections are Important Driving conditions are much better during the summer than in the winter months. However, it is still important to perform key vehicle inspections. By have the vehicle inspected, we will start by having the correct tire inflation in each one. Heat causes things to expand, which can hinder your tire’s air pressure. At the same time, tires should be evaluated for sufficient tread. Since there are numerous thunderstorms in the summer, now is the best time to get a new set of windshield wipers on your vehicle. Your wiper blades should not be ragged or improperly installed. Often times the ice during the winter months can cause your wiper blades to fall apart. Purchasing high-quality wiper blades is beneficial in that it often results in better contact with the windshield surface and therefore makes for a clearing windshield. Check your brakes and brake fluid. This will ensure that your vehicle is coming to a stop, as it should. Overlooking this can bring danger to yourself and other drivers. Inspect your belts and hoses as they can also become worn and blistered over time. Don’t Forget to Overlook an Important Part Often times small things are overlooked that are potentially the most important aspects of a vehicle inspection. It is important to check to make sure that your headlights are shinning bright as possible and illuminating the road. Headlights alert other drivers so they can see you. You should pay close attention to your antifreeze and oil levels. Check for holes and faulty filters to prevent leaks. Testing your battery is one of the final steps to an inspection. Test your battery and alternator to avoid an unexpected loss of power. This test is simple and can be done with the proper equipment available through your local mechanic. Early spring is a good time to check the air conditioner components in your vehicle. Doing this before summer arrives allows you to get in your vehicle and escape the brutal heat of summer. The salt used on the roads during icy conditions can eat away and corrode the metal of your vehicle. A thorough cleaning at a car wash should be done to prevent any damage to the frame of your vehicle. Know what to Have in Your Vehicle After a thorough spring safety inspection, do not forget to check your backseat. Every vehicle should contain an emergency kit regardless of the season it is outside. A safety kit should include a flashlight, batteries, blankets, non-perishable snacks, and drinking water. With your inspection done and an emergency kit in place, both you and your vehicle will be ready for summer.